06.17.07

Evidence of Quiet Lawsuits?

Posted in Courtroom, FUD, Microsoft, Patents at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A fairly respectable publication comes out with an angry article that contains some very critical tone. As we mentioned the other day (without concrete proof), Microsoft is willing to take things to court as long as it creates a scare. The fragment below seems to confirm this. It also contradicts a recent promise made by Microsoft, however vague that promise may have been.

These moves have excalated from private lawsuits against individuals to open hostility against the world of free software and most recently, to inking cross-licensing (i.e.: “protection”) agreements.

All of this is, naturally, under the guise of “improving interoperability” between software products.

Mind the headline, which speaks about “bullying”. The “private lawsuits” part is fairly new, but it is far from being the first time that Microsoft does such things secretly. It refuses to talk (or rejects the opportunity to talk) about ‘collection’ of Free software ‘tax’ from businesses. What type of patents does it speak about, if any at all? Anything like this one?

An entrepreneur believes he’s struck gold with the rights to a 1999 patent for location-based search that he says is being infringed upon by some of the internet’s biggest players.

What an innovative idea…! Serving different results to different audiences based on location. Who would have thought about this??? Is there any prior art?

Whatever people are afraid of (or paying for), it could be as fundamental as the double click. It is time to escape the bubble and tell the world what is truly happening behind the scenes. Let us challenge the FUD rather than shut our eyes.

Novell’s “Hobbyist” Workforce as Cheap Microsoft Labour?

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Novell, OpenSUSE at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alpha 5 of Opensuse 10.3 was announced just days ago. It is a good time to mention Groklaw’s latest article which addresses Novell’s effect on “free labour”. It unfolds and analyses the entanglement Novell’s deal with Microsoft presents to developers.

So, I understand this to mean that Microsoft pays these researchers to think and study and figure out ways to innovate in search so Microsoft can beat Google and Yahoo. Microsoft, I would guess, gets rights to the IP in some fashion. No wonder it has spent a fair amount of effort trying to get the community to drop the GPL and adopt the BSD license instead.

[...]

Of course, in Microsoft’s plan, it would be the end of competition against Microsoft by the GPL or by anybody in any real way, because one misstep, and Microsoft reserves the right to sue your pants off.

It’s a good read overall. If you are developing under Novell’s wing as a so-called “hobbyist”, maybe it’s time to ‘switch team’. You already have an open invitation.

Amid Demoralisation Attempts, Kernel Development Gains Speed, Not Stalled

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

About a months ago, a reporter or two speculated that Microsoft’s extra ‘attention’ — paid primarily to Linux, but also to Free software — would lead developers to fear and desperation while decreasing adoption. The facts on the ground suggest otherwise. That extra attention may have brought more attraction and sped up the development of Linux. Here is the latest:

“We add 2,000 lines of code a day to the Linux kernel. We work on 2,800 lines of code a day. I’ve never seen the pace of change that Linux has shown,” said kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, citing the accelerated pace on the open source operating system.

A lot of more encouraging news comes from the recent summit. For example, consider this:

“Linux will take a significant–I’m not allowed to say ‘dominant’–market share of mobile phone operating systems,” she predicted. Motorola expects 60% of its phones will use a version of embedded Linux “in a short time,” Wyatt said.

To all the skeptics who argued Linux developers would despair, be it resolved that Linux remains at its highs. It gains further momentum. Also hard to escape one’s attention is this major development (and precedence set) in Norway.

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